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Old 23rd December 2016, 06:14 PM
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Default How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

I was perplexed to see this opinion piece pop out among the other otherwise worthy articles and opinion pieces on the Guardian which daily hold my attention.

I guess the editors have to be inclusive and patronising, in a token way, it being the silly season and in light of the sad attack by fanatics on the market in Berlin. To advance atheism is too much, controversial, contentious.

These are uncertain times. People tend to revert, turn back to custom, belief, tradition. The universal abandonment of religion is a new thing, untried.

There is nothing to fear. Anticipating chaos, moral declension, anarchy is unfounded. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

We are not abandoning our capacity to reason and engage in democratic discourse. That's what needs to be unshackled, from religion.

Religion
Opinion
How to defeat terrorists? True extremism

Giles Fraser
Despite what religious terrorists may think, God doesn’t need saving. People should be more extreme in their faith – placing their trust in God’s greatness

(pic)Flowers and candles are placed at the Christmas market at Breitscheid square in Berlin: ‘I want religious people to to be more extreme in their faith not less ... to trust in God’s greatness and that he knows what he is doing.’

Quote:
The problem with the person who drove a lorry into a crowded market of Christmas shoppers wasn’t that he was too religious, but that he wasn’t religious enough. It was the action of a half-believer, the sort of thing done by someone who doesn’t so much believe in God – but rather believes in the efficacy of human power exercised on God’s behalf, as if God needed his help. As Rowan Williams once put it: “For the person who resorts to random killing in order to promote the honour of God, it is clear that God is not to be trusted. God is too weak to look after his own honour and we are the strong ones who must step in to help him. Such is the underlying blasphemy at work.”

It’s a very basic point. The truth of God’s existence does not depend on me. It does not depend on me filling my church with believers at midnight mass. Nor does it depend on me (or anyone else) winning or losing arguments about God’s existence on Twitter. God is not like a political party that lives or dies on its support or lack of it.

The man who shot the Russian ambassador to Turkey shouted “Allahu Akbar” – that God is great. If he really thought that, he wouldn’t have shot the ambassador.

This may seem obvious, but there is an insidious unspoken theological heresy to which religious professionals like me are sometimes drawn, in which God is seen somehow to depend upon my effort, and that it is my task in life to keep people believing because it is people believing that sustains God’s very being.

How does this connect with terrorism? Consider the conclusion that the American scholar Jessica Stern came to after conducting numerous interviews for her book Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. “The point of religious terrorism is to purify the world of corrupting influences,” she explains. “But what lies beneath these views? Over time, I began to see that these grievances mask a deeper kind of angst and a deeper kind of fear. Fear of a godless universe.”

Religious terrorists feel that God is under threat. And it’s their mission to save him – from unbelief, from false religion etc. That, of course, has things totally backwards. We don’t save him, he saves us. And moreover, he saves us by persuading us that it’s not all about us.

“The great aim of all true religion,” wrote William Temple, “is to transfer the centre of interest from self to God.” Religious terrorists don’t get this because they still think it’s all about them, and what they can achieve. That’s the heresy. The man who shot the Russian ambassador to Turkey shouted “Allahu Akbar” – that God is great. The thing is, if he really thought that, he wouldn’t have shot the ambassador. His mistake was to think that God was somehow dependent on, and grateful for, his violent assistance.

Indeed, what Allahu Akbar surely means (and Arabic speaking Christians use the phrase too) is that God needs nothing from me in order to be God. And when this is recognised, I can (sometimes with quite considerable relief) drop all my desperate schemes and arguments that try and keep him going in the face of opposition and disbelief. Indeed, in order to seek to transfer the centre of interest from self to God, to achieve other-centredness, you can’t make it all about you, your spiritual struggle, your religious heroism.

But all this is contrary to the standard narrative the government employs about so-called “extremism”; namely, that the problem with religious terrorists is that they are too religious. The implication of the theologically illiterate Prevent strategy, for instance, is that if religious people were a bit less religious they would be a lot less dangerous.

But as Jonathan Swift famously explained: “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Which is why I want religious people to be more extreme in their faith, not less; to put aside their own boiling inadequacy and to trust in God’s greatness and that he knows what he is doing.

Moses and Jesus and Muhammad were all extremists. They trusted in God over their instincts. And the shorthand for all this is Allah Akbar- a phrase the terrorists will never understand.
The solution to terrorism and religious proscriptions and foolishness isn't more religion, Giles..

The real fix requires and involves a bit more than that. The solution and preventive is education, democratic discourse, equality and rights.

I get the lesson on tolerance. I reject the requisite to respect religions.
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Last edited by Strato; 23rd December 2016 at 06:20 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old 23rd December 2016, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

This is like asking a current and serious drug abuser to be put in charge of a drug rehab program!

Apologists will do anything but apply evidence and reason.

No evidence in god? Then believe all the harder! Yes, that's right, until your brain has the intellectual power of a mashed potato! Plus the old "No True Scotsman" canard. if they are terrorists, the they can't possibly believe in god. FFS!

Can't see the angels dancing on the fucking head of a pin? Look harder! Fucking morons.
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Old 24th December 2016, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

Its a very true believer article. Glurk.
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Old 24th December 2016, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

Quote:
The problem with the person who drove a lorry into a crowded market of Christmas shoppers wasn’t that he was too religious, but that he wasn’t religious enough. It was the action of a half-believer, the sort of thing done by someone who doesn’t so much believe in God – but rather believes in the efficacy of human power exercised on God’s behalf, as if God needed his help
Giles Useful-Idiot Fraser, why are you using the argument of gun rights advocates? When faced with an outrageously inhumane attack where someone shoots random strangers, they argue that more guns would be the answer - apparently, you think that more mental subjugation to violent human projections onto the cosmos is the answer to mentally subjugated violent asshats being religious asshats - get back to the fucking Middle Ages where you fucking belong.

Last edited by Spearthrower; 24th December 2016 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 24th December 2016, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

I feel he is arguing from a position of coward religiosity which, from a Nietzschean perspective, is both predictable and pathetic.

What he is saying, to paraphrase and to do so probably unfairly but what the fuck, is...'i know my religious belief has very little influence or power and everyone will leave me alone to believe what i want as long as i dont disturb anyone so my religion is really much stronger than yours because you do things that make people want to attack you.'

Slave morality.
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Old 25th December 2016, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

Giles Frazer, standing in the lofty, noble and sophisticated tradition of high Anglicanism and low, is patronising of the Muslim believing and seeking the One.

Frazer represents reason, charity, love and is comparing that with desperate fanaticism.

This is paternalistic, arrogating 'our way through jeebus is the real, the only way to god and peace, reconciliation.'

Muslims wont buy that jive. What an insult, how condescending.

ISIS has called for the bombing of churches this Christmas.

Religion isn't helping.
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Old 25th December 2016, 05:10 AM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

The only way more religiosity would combat terrorism was if religion worked by some sort of modulo arithmetic system and by amping it up one notch you could complete a full circle and get to zero.
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Old 25th December 2016, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

Quote:
Strato said View Post
Giles Frazer, standing in the lofty, noble and sophisticated tradition of high Anglicanism and low, is patronising of the Muslim believing and seeking the One.

Frazer represents reason, charity, love and is comparing that with desperate fanaticism.

This is paternalistic, arrogating 'our way through jeebus is the real, the only way to god and peace, reconciliation.'

Muslims wont buy that jive. What an insult, how condescending.

ISIS has called for the bombing of churches this Christmas.

Religion isn't helping.

I have to get a good grip on tge various Arabic and Persian words for kaffir atheist nihilist impure person etc.


Agreed with the tone of this thread. Reinforcing religions is no way to stop violence.
What is needed is a call within religions for moderation of course.
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Old 26th December 2016, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

A Christian with whom I'm having a discussion has been meeting with Muslim moderates to engage with youths in the UK in order to dissuade them from becoming radicalised. He is fully supportive of the promotion of after school madrassas that have lessons in Arabic speaking and the study of Islam. He has joined this group: http://www.activechangefoundation.or.../youth-centre/

He reckons the promotion of religion and spirituality is the key to leading them away from terrorist activities. Of course I disagreed with him and called him an enabler for all sorts of reasons. This was his response:

Quote:
The enabler argument claims that any person holding and defending religious beliefs makes religious extremism and specifically religiously motivated terrorism more likely. The problem with this claim is it flies in the face of the evidence. Every attempt to profile religious terrorism shows that people from a stable religious background are less likely to commit acts of terrorism. Many religious terrorists are converts or people with some religion in their family history but little or no personal religious background. Take this one for example:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/...ity.terrorism1
"Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could actually be regarded as religious novices. Very few have been brought up in strongly religious households, and there is a higher than average proportion of converts. Some are involved in drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes. MI5 says there is evidence that a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation."

Quote:
I know this is several years old now but no more recent evidence has emerged to challenge these findings and MI5 tend to keep their cards close for good reasons.

So promoting mainstream religion is far more likely to prevent terrorism than enable it as far as we can tell.
There is a Wiki article that supports his views: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_terrorism
Quote:
Criticism of the concept
Robert Pape compiled the first complete database of every documented suicide bombing from 1980–2003. He argues that the news reports about suicide attacks are profoundly misleading – "There is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the world's religions". After studying 315 suicide attacks carried out over the last two decades, he concludes that suicide bombers' actions stem from political conflict, not religion.[12]
Michael A. Sheehan stated in 2000, "A number of terrorist groups have portrayed their causes in religious and cultural terms. This is often a transparent tactic designed to conceal political goals, generate popular support and silence opposition."[15]
Terry Nardin wrote,
A basic problem is whether religious terrorism really differs, in its character and causes, from political terrorism... defenders of religious terrorism typically reason by applying commonly acknowledged moral principles... But the use (or misuse) of moral arguments does not in fact distinguish religious from nonreligious terrorists, for the latter also rely upon such arguments to justify their acts... political terrorism can also be symbolic... alienation and dispossession... are important in other kinds of violence as well. In short, one wonders whether the expression 'religious terrorism' is more than a journalistic convenience".[4]<
Professor Mark Juergensmeyer wrote,
...religion is not innocent. But it does not ordinarily lead to violence. That happens only with the coalescence of a peculiar set of circumstances – political, social, and ideological – when religion becomes fused with violent expressions of social aspirations, personal pride, and movements for political change.[3]:10
and
Whether or not one uses 'terrorist' to describe violent acts depends on whether one thinks that the acts are warranted. To a large extent the use of the term depends on one's world view: if the world is perceived as peaceful, violent acts appear to be terrorism. If the world is thought to be at war, violent acts may be regarded as legitimate. They may be seen as preemptive strikes, as defensive tactics in an ongoing battles, or as symbols indicating to the world that it is indeed in a state of grave and ultimate conflict.[3]:9
David Kupelian wrote, "Genocidal madness can't be blamed on a particular philosophy or religion."[16]:185
Riaz Hassan wrote, "It is politics more than religious fanaticism that has led terrorists to blow themselves up."[17]
He also reckons that the Australian government is starting to realise it has been mistargeting its response to terrorism:
From here: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliame...1516/Terrorism
Quote:
The Government states that it has tripled investment in countering violent extremism (CVE) from around $3 million per year to ‘more than $40 million over four years’.[9] However, the amount allocated to these measures remains low in comparison to the additional funding allocated to intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the 2014–15 MYEFO and 2015–16 Budget. The time it has taken to put these measures in place also stands in contrast to the speed with which the Government moved to enact the tougher counter-terrorism laws in the second half of 2014.[10] Some Muslim community leaders and counter-terrorism experts have expressed concern at what they see as an imbalanced response, with disproportionate resources directed to reactive measures such as law enforcement and prosecution at the expense of prevention and intervention
Has anyone some source to say that this isn't the case?

Last edited by SEG; 26th December 2016 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 26th December 2016, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: How to defeat terrorists? True extremism.

Yeah...that's a load of bullshit. Religion may not be the only cause but it sure as fuck is the main one.

Perhaps invite your friend to the horse's mouth - ISIS' magazine, dabiq. Check it out here https://azelin.files.wordpress.com/2...azine-1522.pdf this is the July addition and i've just randomly chosen an extract from the first article because the whole thing is the same shit over and over.

In reference to the spate of attacks in France and Orlando earlier this year...
Quote:
...And despite their wretched condition of ignorance and arrogance, we take this occasion of multiple massacres inflicted upon their citizens and interests to call
them once again to the religion of pure monotheism, truth, mercy, justice, and the sword. Between the release of this issue of Dabiq and the next slaughter to be executed against them by the hidden soldiers of the Caliphate – who are ordered to attack without delay – the Crusaders can read into why Muslims hate and
fight them, why pagan Christians should break their crosses, why liberalist secularists should return to the fitrah (natural human disposition), and why skeptical atheists should recognize their Creator and submit to
Him. In essence, we explain why they must abandon
their infidelity and accept Islam, the religion of
sin
cerity and submission to the Lord of the heavens and
the earth.

They do go on (and on and on) to invoke the god Allah and conclude...

Quote:
We call you to reflect on these questions as the
bloodthirsty knights of the Caliphate continue to
wage their war of just terror against you. And have
no doubt that the war will only end with the black
flag of Tawhid (Islamic monotheism) fluttering over
Constantinople and Rome, and that is not difficult
for Allah...
“Say, ‘Do you expect anything for us save one of
two good things [martyrdom or victory]? While we
await for you that Allah will afflict you with a doom
from Him or at our hands. Await then! Lo! We are
awaiting with you’” (At-Tawbah 52).



Read it. Ask your friend, is this a religious diatribe or a political one?

I was alerted to this addition by Sam Harris who did an interesting podcast deconstructing one of the articles here. https://www.samharris.org/podcast/it...ts-really-want



You might also suggest reading the excellent and balanced History of Islamic Thought, by Antony Black. It doesnt deal with contemporary suicide bombers much but it provides insight into the inextricable relationship between Islam and politics. And this is one of the two main mistakes that apologists make from what i've seen. Firstly, the fallacy that there is a separation between politics and religion and because 'islamic' violence looks just like political violence you cant blame religion. And secondly, the stated motivation of Isis and their freelance wolves (along with multiple similar Islamist groups), is all about going to heaven a martyr and having an awesome eternal life and yet for some reason this is dismissed as a cause.

Western Apologist: Why are you blowing yourself and a dozen strangers up?
Jihadist: For Allah and to go to heaven a martyr.
Western Apologist: So it's a deep seated response to perceived injustice perpetrated by the neo-colonial policies of the West, domestic political corruption, inequality and political activism and so really it has nothing to do with religion at all.
Jihadist: Boooom

You might also invite your friend to read the Koran and follow it up with Hitchen's God is Not Great.

Just my opinion. This is a heated issue but the claim that Islamic violence is caused by Islam doesnt actually strike me as much of a stretch really. But i guess if youre religious, you'll defend religion to the end of reason.

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